Telangana (India) : A study from ICRISAT identified a number of priority future research areas including the need to study all different types of millets, understand differences by variety alongside the different types of cooking and processing of millets and their impact on cardiovascular health. Given the positive indicators to date, more detailed analysis on the impact of millets on weight management is also recommended.
All relevant parameters are also recommended to be assessed to gain a deeper understanding of the impacts millet consumption on hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular disease.
Medical Doctor and co-author, Dr Raj Kumar Bhandari, noted that, “As a doctor I have seen first-hand a significant rise over the years of patients with serious coronary problems from high cholesterol and being overweight.
Based on the evidence in this study we can help reduce hypertension and hardening and narrowing of arteries and manage weight with appropriate diet changes including millets. However, it is important to consume a millet-based and healthy diet regularly and make it a habit.”
“It is also recommended to have nutrition scientists to design millet-based meals especially where weight management and atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases are potential high risks. Doing this in culturally acceptable ways and ensuring tasty meals is important,” emphasized Dr Ananthan Rajendran, study co-author and scientist at NIN.
“A key recommendation from the study is for the government and industry to support efforts to diversify staples with millets, especially across Asia and Africa. Given that millets are hardy and climate smart, returning to this traditional staple makes a lot of sense and is a critical solution that could be the turning point of some major health issues,” highlighted Ms Joanna Kane-Potaka, a co-author and Executive Director of the Smart Food initiative, ICRISAT.
“This latest review further emphasizes the potential of millets as a staple crop that has many health benefits. It also strengthens the evidence that eating millet can contribute to better cardiovascular health by reducing unhealthy cholesterol levels and increasing the levels of whole grains and unsaturated fats in the diet,” said Professor Ian Givens, a co-author of the study and Director at University of Reading’s Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH) in the UK.